August 9, 2006


Let’s see if I’ve got this right. Conventional wisdom says that the country has gone progressively to the center/right. The last two Democratic presidents were centrists. The Democrats desparately want to regain control of Congress in 2006, and the White House in 2008. Joe Lieberman was the Democratic standard-bearer just six years ago, along with Al Gore. The DSCC and the Democratic establishment [aside from President Clinton] provided little or no help to Lieberman in his campaign, which is the same as opposing him. And many left-leaning Democrats are now gleeful over his defeat by a “trust fund baby” in the Connecticut primary, which makes the party as a whole look like total freaking disloyal idiots to the rest of the country. . . .

I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Lieberman runs as an Independent, kicks Lamont’s ass in the general, and then sticks it to the Democratic party forever. I wouldn’t blame him. And I say that as a loyal Democrat.

He’s not the only unhappy Democrat today.

UPDATE: Interestingly, I didn’t realize that Ned Lamont was Corliss Lamont’s son. Though I’m living proof that sons and fathers can have different politics.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jacob Weisberg says that Ned Lamont is Corliss Lamont’s great-nephew. Wikipedia says he’s Corliss’s grandson. I don’t guess it really matters, but . . . .

MORE: ReliaPundit: “I think that the fact that Joe is Jewish really hurt him with the base of the Democrats.”

Antisemitism? In Connecticut?

Meanwhile, Ilya Shapiro observes:

In all the spin about how a “moderate” cannot win given our nascent “politics of polarization,” we lose sight that Lieberman’s supposed moderation rests mostly in his even-tempered disposition. This is a man, after all, who received an 80 percent approval rating Americans for Democratic Action and only 8 percent from the American Conservative Union (less than Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer and equal to Chuck Schumer and John Kerry). Heck, even in voting to authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq, he was joined by a majority of his colleagues (including Clinton, Schumer, John Edwards, and Minority Leader Harry Reid) in a lopsided vote that was greater than that approving the first Gulf War.

Yet Lamont adviser Jesse Jackson said in an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times Monday that “A loss for Lieberman would be a win for progressives.” Jackson went on to fault his party’s putative Vice-President — many who pulled the lever for Lamont no doubt still consider Al Gore to be President — for “embracing key elements of the conservative agenda,” including questioning certain excesses of affirmative action and supporting cuts in capital gains taxes that have ushered in a new class of investors.

Such arguments expose the nasty truth at the heart of the modern “Party of Jefferson”: You have to embrace the entire Democratic catechism (abortion on demand, racial preferences, etc.) or risk banishment from this “party of inclusion.” While accusing the GOP of being a group of intolerant extremists — so intolerant that the party establishment is funding Lincoln Chafee (who has a voting record equal to Lieberman and Clinton, and more liberal than 14 Democratic senators) against a conservative opponent — it is the Democrats who are repeatedly shown to have binding litmus tests.

It’s not a big tent. It’s a pup tent.

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